The first 101 places to benefit from up to £25 million each from the Future High Streets Fund was announced over summer. The latest step of the £3.6 billion investment in towns and high streets is the selection of 20 pilot areas across England that, it is hoped, will lead the way in rejuvenating town centres following the provision of expert and tailored support from the High Streets Task Force.
14 of these 20 pilot areas were announced on 30th December.
During 2020, the Government is planning to invest hundreds of millions of the £1 billion Future High Streets Fund across the country in projects that have emerged within the initial towns already announced.
The 14 areas identified for tailored support are:
Salford – Swinton Town Centre
Croydon – Thornton Heath
Staffordshire Moorlands – Cheadle
Rushmoor – Aldershot Town Centre
Birmingham – Stirchley
Hyndburn – Accrington Town Centre
South Lakeland – Kendal
Preston – Friargate
Coventry – Coventry City Centre
Hartlepool – Hartlepool Town Centre
Cheshire West and Chester – Ellesmere Port Town Centre
Following a recent revisit to high street shops in Haddington, Musselburgh, North Berwick, Dunbar and Prestonpans our Shop Doctor is now busy producing reports updating recommendations made to the participating businesses during this fourth phase of work for East Lothian Council.
Many of the businesses had already benefited from the recommendations with some able to move forward to implement some of the more challenging opportunities within their shops.
One, Blueberry had recently moved premises to a similar shaped but larger shop and transferred many of the ideas relating to potential improvements within their old shop into the new one.
Dunbar Community Bakery had undergone the most extensive work delivering a much brighter and more attractive interior that was not only an improvement for customers but made working within the shop much easier. Hopefully the excellent upgrade will help enhance sales and onward profitability.
The relocated counter at Flowers by Arrangement in Musselburgh had materially improved accessibility around the shop by opening up the entrance and exposing more of the shelving on the right hand side. Still more improvements to come, especially to the lighting.
The Shop Doctor will be returning to East Lothian at the end of January to revisit businesses in Haddington, Dunbar, North Berwick and Cockenzie.
“This will be my 6th trip to East Lothian” says Bill, “it is always good to catch up with the great range of retail operators that have previously participated in my Let’s Talk Shop Advisory programmes”.
Dependent upon retailer interest it is hoped that a further round of Let’s Talk Shop support will be facilitated later in the year in conjunction with East Lothian Council.
Windermere Business Centre has been providing managed office space in the heart of Windermere for almost 20 years in addition to a variety of other business ventures.
Following recent developments in the management of this family owned business a major programme of investment is now underway. Ground floor space is being transformed to create a new reception area, a break out/business lounge, meeting space, hot desk provision and three separate areas of bespoke office accommodation providing 660, 720 and over 1000sq ft of modern managed office space.
Once home of Atkinsons Cake Factory, and dating back to the early 1900’s, some of the industrial heritage of the building is being recaptured in the refurbishment which, once completed, will enable a wider cross section of local business needs to be accommodated than has previously been possible.
Having been associated with the Business Centre for over a decade, and based within it for a number of years prior to establishing Let’s Talk Shop, it is pleasing that Lets Talk Shop Ltd has now been contracted to assist in the management of the Centre going forward and helping to drive development of the opportunities that it will provide for small to medium enterprise development in South Lakeland.
Watch this space for more news of this exciting development.
First floor space of 394 sq ft has recently become available – if you would like more details please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 015394 40020
Tuesday April 12th sees the commencement of another round of Let’s Talk Shop activity across East Lothian.
Following presentation of an evening retail workshop in Haddington on Tuesday 12th our Shop Doctor will be carrying out up to ten one-to-one advisory visits to independent retailers in the area during the rest of the week.
This will be the third occasion that Let’s Talk Shop has been contracted by East Lothian Council to work with retailers and the initial visits will be followed up with a revisit to monitor progress and identify any new opportunities later in the year.
In my recent revisit to retailers in Kirkcudbright it was pleasing to see that many had taken on board recommendations made to them following my original one-to-one visits.
Internal changes implemented within many of the shops was identified as helping to materially improve the way customers “shopped the shop” and contributed towards a more active retail environment during what had not been the best of trading years.
Grant assistance from Dumfries & Galloway Council had also enabled a number of the businesses to upgrade their shopfront presentation and the examples show some after (on the left) and before (on the right) images of a small selection of the businesses visited.
Whilst some changes are quite subtle (such the graphics in the window at Belfry Cafe) and the simple repaint at Wm Law other retailers such as Kennedy’s and Tollbooth Gifts have delivered more dynamic change and materially improved their impact in the town.
With the majority of shops in Kirkcudbright occupied the town presented a varied and active retail environment and, like so many of the towns in Dumfries & Galloway, one well worth visiting.
Thought provoking and entertaining insight into the effective use of the ever changing world of Social Media from Justin and always enlightening to hear the story of the online development of Rosetta Brands.
It cannot be easy to see your business devastated by flood water, and undoubtedly heartbreaking to see the business you have worked so hard to develop washed away through no fault of your own.
With an understandable desire to get the business back into operation as quickly as possible there is often limited time available to consider whether or not changes to the internal layout of the shop might deliver new business opportunities.
But if you are starting again with a relatively blank canvas do not rush to reinstate what was there before. An opportunity exists to address layout issues that might have previously impacted negatively on the way customers ‘shopped the shop’ . Careful placement of replacement shelving might help alter the way customers circulate; identifying and maximising the impact of new selling hot-spots can help generate additional sales and improving merchandising techniques is easier when you are having to stock the shelves from scratch.
It might even be practical to relocate the counter, just because things have always been in a certain position does not mean that they are in the best position for your business in the future.
Identifying new opportunities, on top of everything else required to get the business up and running again, might deliver some challenges, but it is time that could be well spent.
We would be only too happy to discuss with you how our extensive expertise could help ensure that opportunities are not missed and help identify the silver lining available for your business in the future
SLDC Business Rates – All premises are exempt for 3 months if empty. Industrial premises receive up to 6 months if they become empty. We would only be seeking to confirm whether the flooding had affected the whole premises and preventing any trade from the site. Consideration will be given, where appropriate, to extend these periods via means of a local scheme which is awaiting approval, specific to the flooding. Contact SLDC Taxation Team 01539 793245 or email@example.com
Time To Pay – This scheme allows affected businesses additional time to pay taxes to HMRC, including VAT, PAYE and corporation tax. For further details contact the HMRC hotline on 0800 904 7900, set up for those who have been affected by flooding and may have difficulties in meeting their tax liabilities. To apply to the Time To Pay Scheme call 0300 200 3835 and discuss with an adviser.
Federation of Small Businesses For Members: for insurance related issues, irrespective of being a policy-holder, contact FSB Insurance on 0345 762 6158. Contact the Legal Advice Line on 03450 727 727 for any legal aspects to the flood and clean-up. The legal documents section of the website also has useful support (log-in required) www.fsb.org.uk For Non- Members: call FSB Insurance Advice Line on 03450 727 727 and speak to Steve Dawson. For employment support: contact Brian Harrison on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01539 730382 For practical support: contact Paul Foster on email@example.com or 07917 628909. Cumbria Tourism – Working with FSB to ensure the impact of the tourism sector is fully captured, and assisted with Government financial support. Please complete it here: https://www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=144948183547
Helpful guidance and updates on the floods are here www.cumbriatourism.org/home/december-floods-guidance. A helpline is available for affected businesses, contact 01539 822222 or firstname.lastname@example.org
United Utilities – Water bills are being suspended for customers who have been forced from their premises, businesses should contact 0345 072 6072. Customers will need to supply a temporary address along with the flooded address. For any water or wastewater issues, call 0345 6723 723. www.unitedutilities.com/emergencies-incidents.aspx corporate.unitedutilities.com/news-media.aspx
Electricity North West – Emergency Contact 0800 195 4141 or email email@example.com, tweet @ElectricityNW
Cumbria County Council – contact 01228 606060
Jamie Reed MP for Copeland had recently asked a parliamentary question to the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to whether he plans to offer deadline extensions for tax due by businesses affected by flooding in Cumbria.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) operates a dedicated Severe Weather helpline to offer help and advice on any tax matters to those people and businesses affected by the recent flooding. The helpline is 0800 904 7900
Opening hours are Monday to Friday, 8.00 am to 8.00 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 8.00 am to 4.00 pm, excluding bank holidays.
HMRC will also:
consider instalment arrangements where customers are unable to pay as a result of the floods;
agree a practical approach when individuals and businesses have lost vital records to the floods;
suspend debt collection proceedings for those affected by the floods; and
cancel penalties when the customer has missed statutory deadlines due to the floods.